Thomas Kinzer Gilliam

- September 7, 2023

Thomas Kinzer Gilliam, 79, of Blacksburg went to be with his Lord on Thursday, September 7, 2023. He was born in Columbia, TN to the late Vernon Elnoy Gilliam and Alma Lee (Kinzer) Gilliam. In high school, Tom was the school photographer, which became a lifelong hobby. He was also very active in band, winning many awards as a soloist and being selected for all state band three years. He began his college career on a band scholarship at the University of Tennessee, majoring in chemical engineering. After a year Tom was moved to devote his life to the ministry for Christ, so he attended Freed-Hardeman University. Other universities he attended were Oklahoma Christian University (BA in preaching) and Abilene Christian University in Texas (MA, MT and work toward a doctorate in ministry). Because of his curiosity and love of learning, Tom attended several community colleges and state universities as well. For more than 45 years he preached; worked with youth, college students, and seniors; and taught Bible classes in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina and Virginia. After retiring from full-time preaching, Tom filled in for other preachers and continued teaching, as well as edited the church bulletin, helped with event and activity planning, and various other jobs. During his career, Tom led groups in mission efforts and assisted with mission efforts in other countries. In 1970, as an outgrowth of his work with Ft. Hill Christian Youth Camp, Tom began the Dayton Youth Chorus, which attracted teens from central and southwestern Ohio. Because Tom was interested in serving others, he was at various times a member of the Optimist club and Blacksburg Sports Club. Many are aware of his enthusiastic interest in sports. He volunteered with Good Samaritan Hospice, a good place for him to serve since he could talk to anyone about almost anything. Wanting to maintain and sharpen his skills in public speaking led him to Toastmasters in two different states, where he served as president for a number of years. He enjoyed the challenge of competing in public speaking contests. Besides his love of Christ, perhaps his greatest love in serving was in the role of standardized patient for the medical students at Via College of Osteopathic Medicine for more than ten years. Here he was able to utilize acting skills and satisfy his curiosity about many diseases. Tom was preceded in death by brothers-in-law Glenn Quinn and James Christopher Jones. He is survived by his wife of more than 51 years, Lana Kaye (Jones) Gilliam; sister Deborah Leigh Quinn; sisters-in-law Majorie Jones Batten (Gary) and Wendy Jones; and brother-in-law Douglas Wade Jones. Nieces and nephews include Jason Quinn (Alisha), Nicole Goodman (Jason), Erin Dowie (Dale), Ryan Jones, Jedidiah Jones, Lydia Segrest. (Jaired), Rebecca Davis (Vassar), Michael Hackney (Amanda), Drew Hackney (Erica), Kim Geraci (Kerry), Ben Jones (Katherine), and Seth Jones. There are also many great nieces and nephews. Friends may pay respects on Saturday, September 16th at 10:00 a.m. at the Blacksburg Church of Christ, 315 E. Eakin St. Blacksburg, VA. The Celebration of Life is at 11 a.m. with lunch to follow. Arrangements are being handled by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to: à Ft. Hill Christian Youth Camp, 13500 Fort Hill Road, Hillsboro, OH 45133 ( à Midwestern Children's Home, 4585 Long-Spurling Rd, Pleasant Plain, OH 45162 à Blacksburg Church of Christ, 315 E. Eakin St., Blacksburg, VA 24060